Tag Archives: philadelphia flyers

The Jersday Blog January 17, 2019

The Round-Up

Pavel Datsyuk 2013-14 Winter Classic Detroit Red Wings Jersey

Since the lockout, Crosby has undoubtedly been the best player in the NHL. Ovechkin the best goal-scorer, Joe Thornton the best set-up man and Cal Clutterbuck the most-hitting player. But in my mind, Datsyuk was easily the most fun to watch. Lock the door, put a sock on the door knob and and feast your eyes on this puck wizardry:

This guy was pure electricity. Not to mention he also won faceoffs! And actually back checked! And won 2 Stanley Cups! His 2007-08 season where he won a Selke for league’s best 2-way forward, scored 31 goals and 97 AND won a Stanley Cup has to be one of the most impressive seasons in the modern era. What a stud.

Auston Matthews Centennial Classic Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey

Auston Matthews Jersday Count: 3

Let’s take a look in at how Matthews has been doing lately.

Not a hot start to 2019 but there’s a reason the season is 82 games long and not 2 weeks. Anyone panicking about the Leafs current slide are the same ones who kept projecting Matthews’ scoring totals back when he was on pace for like 100. But that’s the Toronto sports scene for ya. The sky is always falling.

Just remember… the Leafs have Matthews, Marner, Tavares, Reilly and Andersen. LFG.

Travis Konecny Philadelphia Flyers Jersey

I’m a big fan of the Flyers’ oranges. They look a lot better than their mid-2000’s black primary jerseys from the Robert Esche era.

As for Konecny, he’s a cool pleyer to root for. The former Chatham-Kent Cyclone and Ottawa 67 has been a real player for the Philadelphia Flyers. The speedster was taken 24th overall in 2015 but is ninth in scoring from his draft class (ahead of him are McDavid, Eichel, Rantanen, Marner, Aho, Barzal, Werenski and Hanifin (holy shit this was an awesome draft year)). While he’s have a slow year compared to his 24 goal 2017-18, Konecny has a lot in the tank.

Cam Neely Boston Bruins Jersey

Greatest power forward of all-time is a bit of a stretch. Then again guys who average a point-per-game and around 100 PIMs a season don’t grow on trees. Fighting is a bit of a lost art form these days and anytime a guy can effectively chuck knucks and score goals I do take notice.

Some people think that I hate the Bruins and that… well that is true. But that’s only been a recent thing. Pre lock-out 2005 the Bruins and Leafs never seemed to be good at the same time so I could appreciate the Joe Thorntons, Sergei Samsonovs, Cam Neelys and  and Ray Bourques or what have you. But that ship has unfortunately sailed. Kick rocks Burgess. I have no time for your irrational Matthews-hating ways.

Steve Nash 1st stint Phoenix Suns Jersey

Heavens to Bettsy I’m blushing. What a jersey. This era of Suns jersey was before the long hair and MVP trophies.

Image result for steve nash phoenix suns rookie

Full disclosure. Steve Nash is my favourite basketball player of all-time.

But any Canadian and/or basketball with a beating heart can appreciate MVSteve. He’s the only Canadian to win NBA MVP and is the 11th player to ever win back-to-back MVP’s.

Here’s a fair warning, I’m about to hit you with a Datsyuk montage and a Nash highlight reel in the same blog. Buckle up.

Jersey of the Week

Jaromir Jagr Czech Republic National Team Jersey

The man, the myth, the mullet. The jersey speaks for itself.

Jagr has officially suited up for the Czech Republic for 133 games internationally in his career. That’s more than his time in Philly, Boston, Dallas and Calgary.

1921 points in 1733 career NHL games. He left the NHL last year at age 45 to play in the Czech Republic. The guy was an absolute legend. I doubt we’ll see him in the NHL again but don’t be shocked if it happens.

 

Image result for jaromir jagr mullet

 

The Weekly Jersey Dump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Conference Playoff Preview: First Round Breakdown and Predictions

The most wonderful time of the year is finally back. NHL Playoffs begin on Wednesday night and the boys at Bench Life are pretty excited about it. If you haven’t already, join our NHL Playoff Bracket Challenge quickly for a chance to win some cash and a Bench Life Sports t-shirt. Now, without wasting anymore time let’s get into it.

Matchups

Tampa Bay Lightning – 113 points (A1) vs. New Jersey Devils – 97 points (WC2)

Season Series: New Jersey 3-0-0; Tampa Bay 0-2-1

Breakdown

Tampa Bay has been at the top of the conference all season long, but the Devils have been one of the hottest teams in the NHL as of late. More specifically, Taylor Hall has made the Devils one of the hottest teams in the NHL lately. The former 1st overall draft pick in 2010 put together the best season of his career, finishing with 93 points and almost singlehandedly carrying the Devils to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.The issue is that after Hall, the scoring stops, and the combination of Schneider and Kinkaid aren’t exactly a guarantee to be solid in net. It looks like Kinkaid will be the starting, and it’s safe to say he deserves it. Read more

2017-18 Bench Life NHL Previews: 19. Philadelphia Flyers

Part 13 of 31 in our NHL previews where Ballantyne, Burgess and I rank each NHL team 1 through 31 and give you an outlook on their season. Each of our previews will be given to you in order of where we collectively power ranked that team.

Check out our other previews:

#31. Colorado Avalanche , #30. Vegas Golden Knights, #29. Vancouver Canucks, #28. Detroit Red Wings, #27. New Jersey Devils , #26. Arizona Coyotes, #25. Buffalo Sabres, #24. Winnipeg Jets, #23. New York Islanders, #22. Florida Panthers, #21. LA Kings, #20. Carolina Hurricanes

 

2016-17 Recap

Record: 39-33-10 (88 Points) 6th in the Metropolitan Division (19th Overall)
GPG: 
2.59 (21st)
GAPG:
2.82 (19th)
PP%:
19.5% (14th)
PK%:
79.8% (21st)
Corsi For %: 52.0% (4th)

In the last five seasons the Flyers missed the playoffs three times and were quick first round outs the two years they did make it. Since their fluky Cup run in 2010, the Flyers have been in playoff purgatory with unsettling mediocre results. It’s especially disappointing given that you don’t have to squint too hard to see a talented roster. On paper, a team consisting of a forward core of Giroux, Voracek, Brayden Schenn, Simmonds, Couturier could be the backbone of a contending team. But over the past half decade, because of a blueline that has been in flux since Chris Pronger retired (?) and carousel of mediocre goalies doing their best to slow down the goals, successful seasons have been few and far between.

Last season there were some positive signs in the disappointing playoff-less campaign. Despite a stagnate offense and uninspiring goaltending, the Flyers were actually a very strong possession team. They had the fifth-most Shots For per game with 31.5 and the seventh-best Shots Against per game with 28.5. They also were sixth in the NHL in USAT% (Unblocked Shot Attempts Percentage: team shots on goal + team missed shots (excluding empty net). Also called Fenwick for) with 51.33% while having very favourable zone starts with 1233 offensive zone faceoffs and 1098 defensive zone faceoffs.

So, as weird as this sounds, the Flyers are a near elite team in terms of applying pressure on the other team, swarming the offensive zone and getting pucks toward the net. All they need to do now is figure out how to actually put the puck in the net… well and I guess keeping it out of the net… what a mess.

2017-18 Outlook

List of Key Additions: Brian Elliott, Jori Lehtera, Nolan Patrick,

List of Key Departures: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Nick Cousins, Michael Del Zotto, Steve Mason, Brayden Schenn

The biggest transaction of the offseason involved the Flyers winning a lottery. No they didn’t land the first overall pick in the 2017 draft, but they did jump 11 spots in the draft to take Nolan Patrick with the second pick. The big center has drawn comparisons to Eric Staal because of his powerful skating and soft hands. He’s one of the most NHL-ready players from the draft and looks to center a second line that will hopefully score some goals and take some scoring pressure off of Giroux and Voracek.

The acquisition of Patrick made it possible to trade Schenn to the Blues for Lehtera and a first round pick. While Lehtera is a downgrade, to the point where he might not make the team out of camp, his contract is around $500,000 cheaper AAV than Schenn with one less year. This gives the Flyers much more flexibility when their youngsters start to get expensive. After signing veteran goalie Brian Elliott to a two year deal, a move that brought Philadelphia just $2,424,107 below the salary cap, the Flyers are attempting the nearly-impossible task of trying to rebuild and contend at the same time.

X-Factors

Team MVP: Claude Giroux

Giroux’s offense has been in a steady decline since the 2013-14 season. In the last four seasons he has had point totals–in chronological order–of 86, 73, 67, and 58 last season. Not counting the lockout shortened 2012-13 season, last year’s point total was Giroux’s lowest since he put up 47 points in his 2009-10 sophomore  season.

Despite plummeting offensive output, Giroux is still Philadelphia’s most important player. He led all Flyers forwards in ice-time with a TOI of 19:07, powerplay ice-time with 307:05 and assists per 60 minutes with 1.68. He is also the team’s premier faceoff man winning 459 offensive zone faceoffs (57.7%), 250 defensive zone faceoffs (59.5%) and 268 neutral zone faceoffs (50.3%).

While at 29 years old Giroux is on the cusp of being an “old” NHL player, I have no doubt that he will bounce back from last years 14 goal output. He is still supremely skilled and his name still carries the weight to draw the other team’s toughest matchups.

Team’s Strength: Depth down the middle

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won three Stanley Cups in the past decade and their strength for each one happened to be their supreme talent and immense depth at centre. Crosby and Malkin are enough to give any team fits, but once you follow them up with the likes of Nick Bonino, Jordan Staal, Matt Cullen, Max Tablot and Tyler Kennedy you really start to force the other team’s hand.

The Flyers seem to have taken a page out of the book of their in-state rivals and have a nice collection of centremen of their own. Despite a dropoff in scoring, Giroux is still one of the most talented forward in the NHL. Nolan Patrick is NHL-ready with a good shot at developing into a very effective No. 2 centre.

One guy who just doesn’t get the same buzz as Giroux and Patrick is 2011 eighth overall pick Sean Couturier. He has quietly developed into a very capable second option at centre. He gets plenty of powerplay and penalty kill time and his strong zone-entry play has gone a long way in making the Flyers one of the strongest possession teams in the NHL.

Sean Couturier

Beyond their core three, the Flyers have some other centre options. Veterans Filppula and Lehtera can spot some time at the centre pivot. Youngsters Travis Koenecny and Scott Laughton have impressed early in their careers and could look to centre one of the bottom six lines if there’s no room on the of one of the top two lines. The Flyers have options upfront and if they’re firing on all cylinders the team should be a matchup nightmare all season long.

Team’s Weakness: The crease

Since Ron Hextall’s last season as a starter in 1997-98 the Flyers have seemingly thrown anyone and everyone in the net to see if they can stop some rubber. John Vanbiesbrouck, Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche, Antero Niittymäki, Martin Biron, Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton, Ray Emery, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ilya Bryzgalov, Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth round out two decades of two-ply soft goaltending. Keep in mind that Bobrovsky didn’t become Vezina Bob until he was flipped to Columbus for three non-first round picks (a trade made to make room for Bryz) and it looks even more bleak.

With Voracek and Giroux in their prime and making big money with a young and talented supporting cast on entry level deals, this team needs to win sooner rather than later. This is why it’s integral that Brian Elliot is the one to backstop the Flyers to the next level. At age 32 on a two year deal with an AAV of $2,750,000, the Flyers hope that Elliott can bounce back from a disappointing 2016-17 season. If Elliott plays like he did with the St. Louis Blues, where he posted a .925 save percentage over three seasons, Flyers fans will be ecstatic.

Rookies/Farm:

Along with Nolan Patrick, rookie forward Taylor Leier and defenseman Robert Hagg are breaking camp with the Flyers. Leier was a Flyers fourth round pick in 2012 and turned some heads in preseason with a 3 points in 4 game performance. 22 year-old Hagg is a stay-at-home blueliner who doesn’t move the needle to much. But he’s solid enough to step into the lineup and give some of their project players some time to develop.

As of right now defensemen Travis Sanheim (17th overall in 2014) and Samuel Morin (11th overall in 2013) are still on the bubble to make the opening night roster. Sanheim is a well-rounded defenseman who has outgrown the AHL and Morin is a 6’6″ mammoth who has developed into a strong-skating shutdown guy during his time in Lehigh Valley. They’re both knocking on the door and should add to the Flyers’ young and mobile defense.

Key Player: Ivan Provorov

Just one year ago Philadelphia entered the season with Shane Gostisbehere as the present and future of their blueline. Gostisbehere had just finished second in Calder voting behind Panarin (ahead of McDavid). Gostisbehere’s high octane play and impressive scoring numbers excited fans and Philadelphia management alike.

But last season Provorov was able to leapfrog the Ghostbear on the Flyers defensive hierarchy. Philadelphia’s 7th overall pick in 2015 broke out in a big way last year and became an absolute horse for the Flyers. He led Philly defensemen in ice-time with a TOI of 21:58 playing in all situations. Provorov was leaned on heavily on the PK and scored at a relatively high clip despite riding shotgun to the Ghostbear on the powerplay. As Philly develops into a contender, Provorov will be tasked with stabalizing a young blueline that will almost assuredly go through some growing pains.

Our Rankings

T. Waind: 21st

C. Burgess: 17th

B. Ballantyne: 17th


 

A lot has to go right for the Flyers to fight their way through the suddenly deep Eastern Conference. Voracek and Giroux need to rediscover their scoring touch, the young blueline needs to play above their age and, most importantly, they need a goalie to consistently stop the puck. I’m actually a big believer in this team’s talent. They just have so many blue chip guys on the backend and more than enough playmakers at the top of their lineup that they shoud be knocking on the door of contention. Don’t be shocked if they grab a wild card spot this year.